In 1941, following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Joy Kogawa and her family were among thousands of Japanese Canadians deemed a threat to national security, stripped of their property and belongings and relocated to internment camps in the BC interior. A fictionalized account of that experience is told in her 1981 novel Obasan, one of the most respected and important Canadian books of all time by one of Canada’s most respected and important literary elders. The story continues in her sequel, Itsuka, re-released in 2005 as Emily Kato. A third novel, The Rain Ascends concerns an Anglican priest’s paedophilia and a dark family secret. The latest of her eight books of poetry is A Garden of Anchors. Her new memoir, Gently to Nagasaki, documents her personal experience of the Japanese internment camps. Joy Kogawa is a member of both the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada.
Kathryn Gretsinger is a journalist, a former CBC broadcaster and an Adjunct Professor at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism.